Communication tips during the festive season for cochlear implant users
Posted by Pindrop Foundation :: Blog Category Contributors
It’s that time of year again, where the excitement is building, and plans are being made for Christmas get-togethers and celebrations. It’s a wonderful time for many, with the opportunity to have a holiday and reconnect with family and friends. The team here at Pindrop wishes you and your family a very merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. We have also put together our very own Christmas list with tips on dealing with some of the communication challenges that may be faced during the festive celebrations.
Being open about your CI.
Over the festive season, we often get invites to parties and social get-togethers where we won’t know many people. This is daunting enough for those without a hearing disability, but for CI users, it may be anxiety-inducing.
To help combat this, you can take some control and see it as an opportunity to talk about the amazing technology that helps you hear. When meeting with new people, look at them, point to your implant and let them know you have a bionic ear to help you hear. Most people are quite interested in cochlear implants and are fascinated by how they work. They will be more understanding and considerate of the hearing challenges you face and will want to help.
You can share tips with them for making things easier for those with a hearing disability, such as:
• Facing them when speaking
• Speaking clearly (and there’s no need to shout)
• Keeping hands free from their face
• Let them know Santa is really hard to understand because of all his facial hair!!
Listening and concentrating at social get-togethers and parties can be tiring, especially if you have recently been implanted. Before you go to an event, it maybe helpful to let the host know:
• Sometimes you can get tired having to concentrate on listening, especially in parties with music and conversations flowing. If you get tired, you may leave early. This way, you have pre-empted an early exit if you need one.
You may opt to host smaller gatherings yourself to help manage this. Do what feels right for you and your family.
Enjoy some of the festive activities
Christmas is an opportunity to explore new sounds and listening experiences.
Maybe take in a show, go to Christmas in the park, or listen to Carols by moonlight. Music can be more challenging to understand with a cochlear implant, but sometimes your memory bank of songs can be unlocked and your brain may fill in the gaps. New hearing opportunities expose your brain to new sounds and experiences which are good hearing exercises and something to enjoy.
Christmas shopping can be stressful at the best of times, so planning to hit the shops when it is slightly quieter (a weekday) may help. Visiting shops you know well, (and ones without music blasting out over the speakers).
One sure-fire way to reduce the stress of a noisy mall is to opt for online Christmas shopping, and while not as much fun as hitting the shops, it does take away a lot of the stress.
The gift of hearing can be an amazing thing, and something for you to celebrate. Retraining your brain to hear sounds again, takes a lot of work on your part, so take time to enjoy it and do something for you.
Enjoy the Christmas season, the festivities and the communication opportunities it gives.